[Met Performance] CID:138810
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {230} Matinee Broadcast ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/10/1945., Broadcast

(Broadcast (Partial)
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 10, 1945 Matinee Broadcast (Partial)


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {230}

Hans Sachs..............Herbert Janssen
Eva.....................Eleanor Steber
Walther von Stolzing....Charles Kullman
Magdalene...............Kerstin Thorborg
David...................John Garris
Beckmesser..............Gerhard Pechner
Pogner..................Emanuel List
Kothner.................Mack Harrell
Vogelgesang.............Morton Bowe
Nachtigall..............Hugh Thompson
Ortel...................Osie Hawkins
Zorn....................Richard Manning
Moser...................Lodovico Oliviero
Eisslinger..............Karl Laufkötter
Foltz...................Lorenzo Alvary
Schwarz.................John Gurney
Night Watchman..........Louis D'Angelo

Conductor...............George Szell

[Note: The opera began at 1:30 and the broadcast at 2:00.]

Review of radio transmission on station KGKO, Dallas by John Rosenfeld in the Dallas Morning News

There's Music in the Air:

Wagner's "Meistersinger" Gets Tight, Balanced Performance Under Baton of George Szell

The BLUE NETWORK'S broadcast of Wagner's 'Die Meistersinger" was the first in five years and only the fourth since the Metropolitan Opera went on the air. We remember no better performance over loud-speaker nor can recall one in the opera house that was so apparently warm and ardent. The hero was patently George Szell, the conductor, who realized the need of balancing both the vocally massive and orchestrally symphonic into a sustained frolic of almost four hours. This takes a large order of taste and virtuosity and even a larger quantity of know-how. Never during the long reign of the late and respected Artur Bodanzky over the Metropolitan's German repertoire, did "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg" sing in such true and Wagnerian style.

The voices of Eleanor Steber and Charles Kullman as Eva and Walter respectively had the range, body and youthful quality asked by the music and so seldom available among Tutonic routiniers. The suave lyricism of Herbert Janssen, often miscast for the music of Wagnerian deities and warriors, was right enough for Hans Sachs except for the nethermost reaches. Better was Gerhard Pechner's Donald Duckish Beckmesser. Among the mastersingers the Kothner of Mack Harrell was outstanding. Emanuel List, basso, was an unfortunately tremulous Pogner. We have no way of knowing the comic charm of John Garris' David but it was expert vocally.

There is hardly the time or place to reconsider "Die Meistersinger" in this, its seventy-seventh year. It is a comic opera only in the fact that it ends happily and generally avoids the major glooms and tensions. Wagner was no prankster but he did qualify as a satirist. His critical enemies, the musical conservatives and doctrinaire Viennese writer, Hanslick, were especially the butts of his jests. The Mastersinger Guild itself might be construed as the musical establishment of Europe that ignored Wagner's innovational music dramas. In one instance, however, Wagner exhibited a flamboyant genius akin to Babe Ruth's pointing to a spot in the grandstand and then knocking a home run into it. Wagner builds the entire action of "Die Meistersinger" to the climax of Walther's Prize-Song, which has to be so good, so moving, so passionate, and so winning as to triumph over the complications of the plot. The Prize-Song is just that good and was delivered Saturday in a manner it deserved.

"Die Meistersinger" is a prodigious achievement both in libretto and music. None who hear it today will outlive it. Exigencies of broadcasting deprived listeners of the great Prelude, the [first act] chorale and several delectable bits.



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